Amazon buying Whole Foods for $13.7 billion

Amazon buying Whole Foods for $13.7 billion

Amazon buying Whole Foods for $13.7 billion

Amazon is buying Whole Foods in a deal valued at about $13.7 billion, a stunning move into brick-and-mortar retail that sets the stage for more radical store experimentation and intensified competition with grocery rivals. It's expected to close in the second half of 2017.

Armed with giant warehouses, shopper data, the latest technology and almost endless funds - and now with Whole Foods' hundreds of physical stores - Amazon is set to reshape a US$800 billion grocery market that is already changing rapidly.

A crowded local grocery market became more interesting - and probably more competitive - as online retail powerhouse Amazon announced Friday that it will buy organic foods specialist Whole Foods, which now has stores in Washington Twp., Mason and Cincinnati. Meanwhile, the more than 460 Whole Foods stores in the U.S., Canada and the United Kingdom could be turned into distribution hubs - not just for delivering groceries, but also as pickup centers for online orders.

When Amazon.com Inc. completes its acquisition of Whole Foods Market Inc., Chief Executive Officer Jeff Bezos will try to keep the grocer's reputation for premium fresh foods while cutting prices to shed its "Whole Paycheck" image. The Journal said the acquisition "could make Amazon an overnight heavyweight in the all-important grocery business..." For example in 2016 it opened a bookstore in Washington Square Mall selling a limited number of best selling hard copy books, complete with printed out review cards for store clerks and online readers. "Whole Foods was losing market share to Kroger", said Brittain Ladd, who until earlier this year was a senior manager working to roll out AmazonFresh globally. It gives Amazon a whopping 431 more pickup locations situated in the often high-density or affluent enclaves of Whole Foods shoppers. Whole Foods will still operate stores under its name and will continue to be headquartered in Austin, Texas.

$3B: Drop in food and drink sales at America's brick-and-mortar stores during this year's first quarter.

Wal-Mart was just one of the many retailers whose stocks were impacted by the news that Amazon is acquiring Whole Foods.

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Instacart declined to comment, but multiple reports said Whole Foods makes up less than 10 percent of Instacart's business.

The acquisition threatens traditional grocers such as King Soopers' parent Kroger that were already reeling from food deflation and encroachment from new competitors like German discounter Lidl.

After the deal was announced Friday, it raised its target price for Whole Foods to $45 from $40.

"They are on offense and that is a good position to be in", Binder said, referring to Wal-Mart.

The transaction will need to get the seal of approval from Whole Foods Market's shareholders.

Walmart, which has the largest share of the US food market, has already been pushing harder into e-commerce to build on strength in its stores and groceries. Amazon's stock shot up on the news.

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